The Basics of a Healthy Diabetes Diet

You can help get your diabetes under control if you eat smart. The right foods can be an ally in your fight to keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a diabetes educator about how to keep track of how many carbs you eat, which can affect your blood sugar, also called glucose.

They may recommend that you use the glycemic index. It ranks how different foods raise glucose. Foods with a high glycemic index raise it more.

Also try these tips:

Make your plate colorful. That’s an easy way to be sure you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean protein.

Watch your calories. Your age, gender, and activity level affect how many you need to eat to gain, lose, or maintain your weight.

Go for fiber. You can get it from plant foods like whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts. Studies suggest that people with type 2 diabetes who eat a high-fiber diet can improve their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

How Much Can You Eat?

Check the serving sizes on nutrition labels — they may be smaller than you think. Eat only the amount of food in your diabetes meal plan. Extra calories lead to extra fat and pounds.

Don’t skip meals, though. Eat them, as well as snacks, at regular times every day.

On the TLC diet, you will:

  • Limit fat to 25%-35% of your total daily calories.
  • Get no more than 7% of your daily calories from saturated fat, 10% or less from polyunsaturated fats, and up to 20% from monounsaturated fats (like plant oils or nuts).
  • Keep carbs to 50%-60% of your daily calories.
  • Aim for 20-30 grams of fiber each day.
  • Allow 15% to 20% of your daily calories for protein.
  • Cap cholesterol at less than 200 milligrams per day.

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